Tag Archives: Lenaea

ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY: THE BANQUETERS (427 BCE)

 For background info on ancient Greek comedies and my previous reviews of them, click here (also features a list of my source books): https://glitternight.com/ancient-greek-comedies/

What Meet the Beatles was to the British Invasion, The Banqueters was to Attic Old Comedy. (Yes, I love silly comparisons) This play was the first comedy written by Aristophanes, the leading light of ancient Greek comedy, and was performed at the Lenaea festival of 427 BCE when Aristophanes was nineteen years old. The Banqueters won second prize, making it a very auspicious debut for the man often considered the greatest political satirist of the ancient world.

THE PLAY

The Banqueters is a comedy that once again lets us feel our shared humanity with the ancient Athenians, in this case over the perennial conflicts caused by Generation Gaps and the tension between pointlessly clinging to the past and pointlessly embracing new ideas just because they’re new, even though they may be just as flawed as the older ideas they replace. This is one of the many comedies of Aristophanes that survive in fragmentary form, not in their entirety. 

SYNOPSIS

An Athenian landowner with staid, old-fashioned views is hosting a lavish banquet in honor of Heracles. The attendees are the landowners’ Phratry- brothers (think of a cross between college fraternity brothers and social lodge brothers) and they are the title banqueters who make up the chorus of the play, offering wry commentary on the action of the comedy, often with jokes that break the fourth wall and address the audience directly.

The landowner is using the event to Continue reading

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